Self-driving shuttles testing this summer at JFK Airport parking lot

Self-driving vehicles will begin testing with human passengers at JFK Airport’s long-term parking lot this summer.
Port Authority of NY/NJ

Self-driving shuttle vehicles are being tested this summer in a massive parking lot at John F. Kennedy Airport, and for the first time will allow passengers to experience the newfangled technology firsthand.

The Port Authority will begin allowing passengers to ride in two autonomous vehicles around JFK’s Parking Lot 9 next week, following a 1.5-mile-long circle around the carpark and making 15 stops, including at the Howard Beach and Lefferts Boulevard AirTrain stops.

The free shuttles, supplied by New Zealand-based company Ohmio, can transport 8 passengers at a time, and all will carry a “safety” driver behind the wheel in case things go awry.

The pilot demonstration will carry on for three months. This is the fourth time the Port Authority has tested autonomous vehicles, but the first in which they will carry passengers.

“Safely incorporating self-driving technology at our facilities is part of the Port Authority’s future,” said Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton. “And these tests help to prepare us for that eventuality by building a knowledge base on the possibilities and limits of these vehicles.”

Testing at JFK Airport comes as the city is allowing companies to test their self-driving car tech on New York City streets.